Microsoft has mentioned a new edition of Windows NT Server aimed at small businesses before, but today it became official when Microsoft announced "Small Business Server." Code-named "Sam," this BackOffice-based suite of servers will be sold to small businesses with fewer than 25 employees. It will be based on NT Server 4.0 and will ship later this quarter, according to Paul Maritz, group vice president for applications and platforms. In addition to offering all of the features of the normal version of NT Server, it will be much easier to administer.

"We've realized that our products have become very powerful but also very complex, so we have to work hard to simplify, simplify, simplify," Maritz said.

An installation wizard will guide users through the installation of Small Business Server. User accounts are automatically created and configured, with customized desktops and mail folders. To prevent larger organizations from using this edition of NT Server, it will be hard-coded to accept only 25 simultaneous clients.

"We've capped it there," Microsoft VP Steve Ballmer said